Can I Be a Part-Time Personal Trainer? | Learn: Your Fitness Business Resource

Can I Be a Part-Time Personal Trainer?

Tyler Spraul is the director of UX and the head trainer for He has his Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine and is an NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist. He is a former All-American soccer player and still coaches soccer today. In his free time, he enjoys reading, learning, and living the dad life. He has been featured in Shape, Healthline, HuffPost, Women's...

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UPDATED: Aug 25, 2020

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  • Personal trainers can work part-time or full-time.
  • Working for someone or being self-employed contributes to decisions about how many hours to work.
  • Part-time earnings add up and could cover a lot of expenses.

Personal training can be a rewarding career. Those willing to put in a substantial number of hours every week may find their efforts pay off nicely. Charging $40 an hour and working 40 hours a week comes out to $1,600 per week. Multiply that figure by 52 and the year turns out to be a financially solid one.

Does everyone have to put in a lot of hours to be a successful personal trainer? Here’s the news: If you only want to train one client per week to cover one particular household expense per year, go for it. One client means “free” car insurance. Of course, taking on more than one client would be a good idea.

Ultimately, no rule exists that states personal trainers aren’t allowed to work part-time. A lot of trainers work part-time, enjoy it, and make excellent money.

Even part-time trainers need a reliable fitness business management software platform to keep their training business running smoothly. Request a demo today for our All-In-One Fitness Business Management Software.

Part-Time Work for Different Needs

Not everyone wants to earn a full-time living as a personal trainer. In fact, budding personal trainers may already have a career in another field. Their interest in fitness and training could be best defined as a lifelong hobby. Significant dedication to working out increased their knowledge about exercise and fitness. They choose to put their knowledge to use and become certified personal trainers.

Doing so not only helps them take a fitness-oriented lifestyle into a new direction, it allows for earning money. Acquired knowledge and skill have value. Why not market those abilities to people in need of training assistance?

Even a part-time income could dramatically change a person’s financial situation. Personal training doesn’t pay minimum wage.

Receiving $20 for a half-hour session reaps $200 per week for only five hours of work. An extra $10,000+ a year could cover a lot of annual expenses. Imagine if you put the money into long-term savings year after year.

Working part-time as a personal trainer makes other areas of life a bit easier. Earning money to help others exercise better might eliminate the need to ask for a raise at your current workplace or taking a second grueling job that doesn’t interest you.

Again, personal training can be done part-time, full-time, or even beyond 40 hours a week. No real rule tells a personal trainer how many hours he/she must work unless the trainer works at a gym with an ironclad-set schedule.

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Who do trainers work for?

Personal trainers may work for themselves or others. Who they work for determines how flexible their schedule may be.

Self-Employed Trainers

Personal trainers may work for a gym, or they could choose to go the self-employed route. When self-employed, trainers can pick their schedule accordingly. Those paying monthly rental fees for gym space, however, can’t cut their schedule back too much. Working too few hours makes it hard to cover expenses, much less earn a profit.

With a reasonable monthly rental fee, a trainer won’t be forced to work an excessive amount of hours per week. That said, rental fees make working a minimum number of hours unavoidable even with high hourly training rates.

Of course, training people in locations other than a gym is possible as well. Running such a business from home is common and’s all-in-one Business Management Software makes it easy to train clients all over the world.

Working for a Gym

When working for a gym, particularly a big box franchise gym, personal trainers may have more flexibility to select part-time hours. Major gym chains often keep their doors open 24/7, adding flexibility to a schedule. The hourly pay rate may not be top dollar, but overhead such as rent and marketing expenses wouldn’t apply.

New hires to a big gym must accept that they won’t be working prime hours. Open slots for newbies may be on Friday and Saturday nights or other less-desirable days and times. Eventually, seniority kicks in, and moving into a better schedule becomes possible.

Be the best and most professional personal trainer you can be. Doing so pays off.

Big gyms experience high turnover, meaning loyal personal trainers become valuable. No business wants to lose a good employee. In all likelihood, gym management would be open to keeping a good trainer on board even if he/she only wants to work a small number of hours per week, specific days and times, or split shifts.

Ultimately, a big gym can be the perfect place for someone who wants flexible hours. A little bit of time on the job may be necessary to gain that flexibility.

Working Both

Just as there are no rules against working part-time, no rule exists for working for a gym and for being self-employed. The exception will be if the gym demands that personal trainers do not work elsewhere, but the aforementioned high turnover would make a gym less likely to make this requirement. The gym may ban trainers from soliciting current members.

Don’t violate the gym’s rules, or else you’ll risk being fired.

A common plan would be to accept the moderate pay from the big gym for a few hours a week and then advertising high rates to pick up one or two clients on a self-employed basis. All the money adds up.

The Scalable Nature of Part-Time Personal Training

Weekly personal training hours can fluctuate. Increasing a part-time schedule to a full-time one can be done just by making oneself more available and seeking out new clients. Scaling back full-time work to part-time remains an option as well.

Anyone with fitness skills and knowledge should keep all of this advice in mind. The ability to make decent money on a second career comes in handy when a primary job runs into unexpected troubles. After all, working as a part-time trainer comes with additional career options and a lot of potential freedom.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Which personal training certification is the best one?

All of the various personal training certifications have different requirements, costs, study materials, exam details, recertification requirements, and continuing education credits (CECs) or units (CEUs). It’s important to do your homework and review all of the details before deciding on which one is best for you. The certifications that have been NCCA-accredited are more reputable than others that are not accredited because they have met a certain level of standards for the certification.

How long should I study for a personal training certification exam?

It varies among individuals. If you recently finished a degree with courses covering most of the content in the exam, you might be able to take it more quickly than someone who does not have that background. With NESTA, once you register for the exam, you have 90 days to complete the exam. Other organizations will vary on their timelines.

How much money do personal trainers make?

This varies depending on location, experience, and how many clients you are training.

Where can I train my personal training clients?

There are a number of places where you could train your clients like a gym, a park, your home, their home, or your own studio.

Grow and manage your part-time personal training business better with our All-In-One Fitness Business Management Software. Request a demo today. 

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